@TalkALittle - you are, of course, exactly right about the head hen having a secure position. I lost my top BR, Dottie, recently. But a few months ago she was acutely ill and hid it from the others. Had to move her to sick bay for a few days the first time she became ill and when she was ready to rejoin the flock, just placed her back with them and absolutely no discord. Second time she got ill, she didn't make it. And sadly it was exactly the same time Penny was under the weather and away from the flock. I think their absence changed the expectations of all except the #2 gal Tweedie who easily moved to her new role as leader. The other 2 have had no serious fights but brief pecks and shuffles to access treats. But both are obviously threatened with the reintroduction of Penny & surely don't want her to move up the ladder.
Would love to be able to attend the chicken workshops, but too far away for me.
Thanks for your input, any and all suggestions are appreciated.